COVID-19 cases rise to 34 in Maldives

MALE, April 18 (Xinhua) — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Maldives rose to 34 on Saturday as health authorities reported six new cases in the densely populated capital Male, local media reported

According to the Ministry of Health, six new COVID-19 cases were detected in capital Male on Saturday, bringing the city’s total number of cases up to 14.

“We urge the public to stay vigilant,” the country’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, in a tweet commemorating the Maldivian Doctors Day, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said: “We owe our medical professionals an immense debt of gratitude for the risks they undertake daily to keep us safe from the COVID-19.”

The first COVID-19 case in Male was found on Wednesday and authorities have since identified at least three separate clusters in the city, raising concerns about community spread of the virus.

One of the new cases discovered Saturday was that of a 30-year old Bangladeshi migrant worker. There are around 200,000 migrants working in the Maldives, most of them Bangladeshi nationals.

Experts have said that the congested living conditions of migrant workers, combined with the displacement of workers following the widespread closing of resorts, could pose a challenge when combatting the pandemic.

The government last week established a task force to move migrant workers into less congested government facilities.

On Friday, a lockdown placed on the Greater Male region was extended for two weeks. Travel between islands has been prohibited except for the transport of essential supplies.

Maldives has had a total of 34 COVID-19 cases, with 16 recoveries and no deaths. The country has 61 isolation facilities and 1,053 quarantine facilities.

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